Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quite a show.

I spent Veterans day at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in San Diego (not at taxpayer expense.) There are over 15,000 attendees, and I ran into lots of Nebraska chief's over the past couple of days. My role at the conference was to help staff a booth in the exhibit hall for the International Association of Crime Analysts (IACA) . I am an advocate for the field of crime analysis as a means of improving the effectiveness of the police.

It was my pleasure to talk to other chiefs and commanding officers about the services available from the association to help support the work of their analysts. We talked to several chiefs who had either recently hired analysts or were in the process of starting up a unit. A professional association with training, web resources, a great conference, a vibrant listserv, and a network of professional peers can be immensely helpful to a new analyst or a new unit--and to established analysts as well.

Every downtown hotel and restaurant was filled with chiefs, and the exhibit hall at the San Diego Convention Center was jammed with about three square blocks of exhibits. I had time to visit only a fraction of the vendors, but it was an impressive array of goods and services. Compared to my previous experience, I noted many more video monitoring and CCTV systems, mobile communications and command posts, intelligence and analytical software, and incredibly bright emergency light systems--along with the usual array of body armor, weapons, uniform gear of all types, and so forth.

Two of the more intriguing products I saw were a computerized, wearable personal audio-video recording system from the makers of TASER, and a remarkable prototype of a dedicated police patrol car under development by Carbon Motors Corporation.

I was interested in gathering a little information about mobile command post vehicles--something we sorely need. A command post vehicle is on my list of future wants. I snapped this photo of an impressive example:



This unit is from Sikeston, Missouri--a town with a population slightly over 17,000. LPD's mobile command post, by comparison, is a marked patrol unit--a Chevy Tahoe.

Quite a show, indeed. It reminded me of the Christmas edition of the Sears catalog when I was a lad in the early 1960's.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sikeston is in Scott County, which has a 65/35 Rep/Dem split; maybe that's why the Sikeston PD gets strong support from the citizenry (and thus from the local govt as well). It's just a possibility...

Anonymous said...

I notice that the command post you have pictured is a multi-agency vehicle.

Has LPD, LFR, LSO, Emergency Management, and NSP ever gotten together to talk about available resources to the community?

Do these other agencies have mobile command posts? Is it possible to combine resources and save some tax payer money? Or would politics and egos get in the way?

Grundle said...

That Carbon Motors police car is frickin' cool.

Anonymous said...

...however, that doesn't mean that Sikeston has low crime rates, when compared to Lincoln. Their murder rate is over 10 times higher! Vehicle theft is 2x, robbery is 3x (and if you include the unreported non-biz ones, likely much higher than 3x). Why? Not to be cryptic, but if you dig a little for the Sikeston population demographics, you might find a clue.

Their other Pt 1 crime rates are also higher, but as with anywhere that has a murder rate approaching 30 per 100k, the real rates are actually much higher than reported. For instance, their rape rate is unbelievably low for a place with that murder rate.

Anonymous said...

Isnt there any Federal money, Narcotic Money, Grants that the department can use for that command unit?

Anonymous said...

I think when 9:20 wrote "Is it possible to combine resources and save some tax payer money?" they might have meant TAX PAYER MONEY. Federal Grants are still TAX dollars! I know taxes are complicated but hopefully that clears it up for you.

Anonymous said...

Why would we need this mobile cammand vehicle? Waste of money if you ask me. How about getting all officers their won digital cameras since digital photo's is what everyone wants for prosecution.

Anonymous said...

11:38

Thanks for the clarification Alan Greenspan.

Anonymous said...

To further 11:38's point, it's even worse to use federal tax money than it is to use local or state tax money, because the federal tax-and-pork pipe is long and sticky. It's questionable wisdom to send that much money 1,500 miles, through all those elected, appointed, and civil servant types, just to get some of it back here where it started. 11:38 already gets this, and wouldn't cotton to giving me 100 bucks so that I could keep 40 for myself and send back 60 to them as a "grant", along with lots of conditions attached about how he spends that 60.

Anonymous said...

Or something that would actually be used, like tasers for every officer, could be put on the list.

Kendra said...

Boy, Chief, way to torture yourself! That's about as cruel as a little kid who only has a dollar walking through a Toys-R-Us! :)

Tom Casady said...

11:59 and 4:39-

Did I say this was the top priority? Geez. There is a whole lot of stuff we need, and it's remarkable when you compare some of our equipment to the stuff that some (certainly not all) agencies are able to afford. I'm a little jealous, sometimes. I agree completely that it would be nice to have a new digicam for everyone, the back-office software to support it, a digital transcription system, more rifles, more TASER, cool LED light bars, more LIDAR, new uniforms for everyone, RUVIS, more ballistic shields, a Southeast substation, a mobile command post, FLIR, digital video for every patrol car, and most of allmore police officers and support staff. So why do you feel compelled to bust my chops when I simply mention that one of our many needs is a command post? Find me an agency in a city of a quarter million that has none.

We need a mobile command post for certain special events, tactical incidents, training, emergency preparedness, and other protracted field operations. I'd put it on my list above a helicopter :-).

Anonymous said...

A helicopter is something we could use. That would be real cool. I'd be even willing to be sent on some training far away somewhere to learn to fly it.

Anonymous said...

Or better yet, lets get some free stuff- The federal government gives police dept.s FREE .223 rifles (AR-15), all you have to do is ask for them Chief- too bad we won't just send the letter- the bad guys have assault rifles and hopefully when the next big mall or school shooting happens in our city one of the two officers in that area that have rifles will be close or able to respond....Otherwise it's sending lambs to the slaughter. We're behind the times and the solution is FREE, why not take it and give us a fighting chance at survival?

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure LSO has a command veh that will suffice, why not broker a deal to split half the bill and we both use it.....

Anonymous said...

I think the taxpayers should fund your travels for any police-related function. The fact that it was in San Diego does not mean it doesn't benefit everyone in Lincoln. Raise my taxes for police equipment and officers whenever needed.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of new equipment chief, I saw one of the new police cruisers today. How soon will it be when the old ones are phased out? It would be great to get one of those command posts for the police department. However, it is difficult considering the economy. Command posts aren't good for just crime. They are great for natural disasters as well. Law enforcement needs to keep the order after a flood, tornado, snowstorm, etc. from the looters. I bet if something bad hit Lincoln and some of these people found out that a command post would have made things easier, you would look like someone that isn't equipping your officers.

Anonymous said...

I like my mini SE substation even if it has some crazy bugs in summer and occasional plumbing issues. SE team area is big and growing and I just don't think one Substation would be practical to get ofcs to calls priority in a timely and safe matter.

Anonymous said...

Chief,
How about a real superglue fuming chamber istead of an aquarium and an old rubber-maid trash can?

I know monies are tight but when given the opportunity to pick up a couple of FREE chambers from the U.S. Postal Service Lab in Chicago, the department decided to pass.

Having a RUVIS on your list is great for scenes, but if you're getting something for the lab its virtually worthless without a decent fuming chamber.

As far as the helicopter, I'd wait until we are out of Afghanistan and Iraq, might be able to pick up an unmanned drone. Heck they might even throw in a couple of hellfire missles, which used once during a pursuit are much more effective than stop sticks and would definitely cut down on court time overtime.

Just a thought.

Tom Casady said...

5:35-

A fuming chamber is also on my list, and I hope to tackle that one this eyar. It, too, is a higher priority than a command post. Our problem at LPD has been that we are not getting any money in our operating budget for capital outlay (that's equipment with a lifespan of more than a couple years, and a cost of more than a couple hundred dollars.) The bad economic conditions and the job cuts at the City of Lincoln have really squeezed budgets. We have been able to take care of a few things (portable radios, pistols, TASERS, cameras) in the past few years with reappropriated funds from the previous year, and with grants.

Grant funds always have strings attached. Right now the biggest streams of resources are Homeland Security dollars for emergency preparedness, all-hazards mitigation, CBNR protection, critical infrastructure protection, communications interoperability, and so forth. You cannot use grant money allocated for these purposes to buy a camera, a TASER, or a new jacket, even if that's what you really deem to be a higher priority. Grant funding is not available to buy fuming chambers, RUVIS, a few hundred point-and-shoot digicams, a new uniform, a digital transcription system or a lot of other things we may need.

And I have no idea what you're talking about regarding the Postal Service Lab. That's news to me.

Anonymous said...

Whats that Rolling Stones song "You cant always get what you want" This is true but with the rest of the lyrics "But if you try sometime you find you get what you need" I think your doing a great job Chief, keep doing what your doing. I think the citizens of Lincoln are lucky to have you as the Chief. You and your officers keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

What about the FREE street rifles that area vailable if we simply write a letter explaining how many we would need for our Officers?

Anonymous said...

I guess it could be worse.

Anonymous said...

Everyone writes in with their wishes like the man hasn't thought of this stuff. There is a limited amount of money available. We are very fortunate with the quality of equipment we get. We have good leather, well maintained cars and MDTs that work most of the time. I think we are doing pretty good.

Anonymous said...

somehow I think cassady was thinking of these things before some the commenters were out of jr. high school. Seems like a future-ist to me from this blog.

Anonymous said...

Chief, you've written before about a wish list that various city departments used to publish annually. They've stopped doing that, but LPD could still publish their own wish list, couldn't they? From the cheap to the hyper-expensive, the stuff you'd procure if the budget allowed. I think that some Lincolnites and some area businesses would write checks for some of the gear that their financial means allowed, if they knew exactly what it was they were buying. Maybe a few little rail-mount weaponlights for check-out to night-shifters, maybe a digicam, or several digicams, who knows what gear you need unless you lay the list on the table, then we can look it over and see if some line item fits our philanthropic budget, and tell us how to proceed with getting a check (be it tiny or huge) to the right place. Maybe someone just has $100 to help with gear, maybe $500, maybe a whole lot more.

Anonymous said...

Chief,
I know this post has gotten a shopping list out to you, but I just want you to know I love our crime analysis unit. With packets of information from them, I was able to clear three of my follow-ups, in one week, with arrests. I hope they know they are appreciated and they really do help lighten the burden.

Anonymous said...

Well Chief, did you enjoy the session of combating steroid abuse? Is that something that you feel is a problem at LPD?

Tom Casady said...

1:22-

Didn't go to that one.

Anonymous said...

sounds like it has affected some of the larger depts, seems like corruption isn't much of a problem with lpd as it is in other depts. why do you think that is?

Tom Casady said...

3:21-

One word: Nebraska. I ran into my wife's aunt and her teenage grand daughters yesterday. They live in suburban Hays Center, Nebraska but they were here in the Big City to attend the State volleyball tournaments. Talk about salt-of-the-earth Nebraskans! Let's face it: we may not have the world's best weather, the greatest arts scene, amusement parks to speak of, beaches or mountains, but we have the most honest, caring, self-effacing people you'll find this side of South Dakota. Say what you will about the midlands, you'll never find a more stable, dependable, reliable, honest workforce then what you find here in Nebraska.

Anonymous said...

Any citizen can donate any amount of money they want to the Police Department and specify what they want it to be used for--command post, flashlights or jackets--simply by writing a letter to the chief indicating their support and making the check payable to the Mayors gift Catalog. We get tons of help, K9's as an example, and have always had excellent support from the community. Just remember your needs are greatest when you are accomplishing great things because you see even more possibilities. Go to a bigger city and look at some of the equipment they have or cars they drive. Having come here from a smaller department where we had nothing, we are doing pretty well.

Anonymous said...

Sears was open when you were a kid?

Anonymous said...

Chief,
Need a mobile command post? How about resurrecting "The Whale?" ;)

Anonymous said...

That command post is not muli-agency it is only for Sikeston, it was purchased through a federal grant. Sikeston's crime rate is much lower than that of communities of its size and some larger cities. We have not had a murder since 2006 and althougth we have our fair share of crime it is better now than it has been in over a decade. Also, our chief just won a top chief award for the state of Missouri, we're proud of that (see article below).

December 2, 2008 paper read:


Juden receives MPCA honor

-Sikeston police chief named top chief in Missouri



SIKESTON- Sikeston’s police chief will receive the Missouri Police Chiefs Association’s top honor.

During the regular Sikeston city Council meeting Monday, City Manager Doug Friend presented a letter from the association advising city officials that Sikeston Department of Public Safety Director Drew Juden was selected to receive the 2008 Donald Red Loehr Outstanding Police Chiefs Award.

According to the letter from Sheldon Lineback, MPCA director, “Chief Juden has demonstrated insightful leadership, innovation, and true professionalism which has been recognized in his daily service to the citizens of Sikeston, and also for his dedication and service on a statewide scale to ensure Missouri is prepared to serve and protect citizens across the state of Missouri.”

The award is “the highest recognition a member of the MCPA can receive,” Lineback said in the letter.

An award presentation is scheduled for Dec. 18 in Jefferson City.